Monday, 28 September 2015

The recipent `review`

Ever since i discovered that books gave an escape route from reality to my la~la land...i'm been addicted to it. Dismissing classes, food & lovers just for a few more hours of "high" of reading... nevermind if it's a science-sci (thanks to H.G Wells), Mills & Boons, Fantasy (resulting in a fav. or 2 dragons and wizards), a deary old non-fiction Medical journal or *gasp* erotica (damn you Christian Grey! and Beauty!!). *ahem* *cough cough*  
And these days, after a careless purchase of Kindle Unlimited i'm spending far too much of my time squinting into the screen devouring one book after another...

Some time ago a friend had asked me to review a book... and why not heh?? Even if my last review of a book was in high school as part of homework assignment. So i downloaded the pdf and cozied up to read, till the magpies starting chirping. Here's my very humble take on "The Recipient" 
The Recipient makes for an interesting read, making the reader wonder- what sort of story will enfold? Will it turn into tragedy, thriller or paranormal as the protagonist skips her sleep and the ensuring nightmares. Whose memories are the dreams make of; Casey's or someone else's? The Recipient starts off on a clipped pace, flirting between memory transference, cyber security, organ harvesting and plain ol'suspense. Yet at 400+ pages long, it does not succeed in weaving a web strong enough to fend off obvious questions like '' Why did the relationship with Edie turn sour?" Just what was her role in the scheme of things? Is she an more than an innocent bystander or even a active conspirator? What about the over hyped alter ego- Octogon? It irritated the hell out of me that Octogon promised to be much more than just a diversion it was in the end. Bloody hell. I wish there had been an additional 50 pages so that the author would neatly tie up all the loose ends and answer some vital questions instead of rushing off and hastily making a big flouncy bow. 

While i would not recommend someone else to rush off to purchase the book, credit card a waving,  i would be more than happy to loan the same, especially to pass the time in an airport/train lounge because despite it's flaws, it IS interesting.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Into the black hole

OK, after typing the title I realised that "into the black hole" has a double lah this is not a r-rated post. No monkey and chocolate starfish business here... -_- only pg-13 stuffs.

I have been trying to read and understand this particular book

Have any of you ever read it?? I have tried and re-read this book yet the fundamentals seem to delude me..why?? Am I dumb?? Can someone show/explain/give me a dummy's guide to this. Some books are so damm boring that I will literally throw it away in exasperation (except when in a bookshop- then I will gingerly place it carefully away, worried that the 'irritating and irrational' bacteria will contaminate me, and I definitely do Not want  to pay for the  ridiculous thing) yet try as might I don't have the heart to give up on this book.

One day...I. Will. Understand. #hwaiting!

For now it's back to pg.XYZ and figure out the darn stupid theories of this or that particle/radiowave/light/what-not. Why do I even bother?? Meanwhile some lack of updates are expected due to me being gobbled up by this experiment- into the black hole I disappeared... Keeping me in company will be my Kindle Unlimited (a recent purchase responsible for many sleepless nights ). Adiós amigos

Monday, 21 September 2015

loving IGNOU and it's pains

the drawback of starting work at a somewhat relative young age has meant that i never got to complete my studies. Even though (*touch wood) the lack of qualificatio. has not to a great extend affected my income, it has nevertheless been a hurdle in my career. Plus to be honest i have always felt like an uneducated buffoon amongst Masters & PhDs in my friend circle, no matter how much i strived to keep abreast of what's happening in the world and learning all sort of things, a regular Ms. Jack of all Trade.

Somehow that i have always felt that i'm meant to have a Masters in some high funda subject and possibly a Dr. at the start of me mingzi, thus i have been trying to finish my studies for the past  decade. Some might say that i am not that interested but no i am!! ok, maybe not too much. Given a choice between my fun time namely  travels and exams, travel wins. at the end of the day, i rather be travelling, sipping a chilled beer and chilling out next to the beach then burning the midnight oil mugging up all the various policies & governance doctrines.

for the past several years i am student of INGOU (Indira Gandhi Open University) and today i had to register for my final semester. only i ended up running from one office to another office for the right person to answer my queries. Since i had to also make a DD in payment towards IGNOU for my tution fees (which by the way is just Rs2000. beat that cost IITs!!) and leisurely made my way to State Bank of Mysore on 39th Cross, 7th Phase JP Nagar only to get a rude shock. SBM closes at 2pm. FREAKING 2PM, wtf!??? This meant that i had find another bank pronto. Went off to HDFC at 40th cross only to asked "do i have a HDFC Account", and upon my affirmative reply told "you need to bring your cheque book to make a DD" again WTF?? It's times like this that i miss Mr. Big so that he would be the one to run around.  Googled for another bank on my almost dead phone and found State Bank of India on 29th Cross and got the darn DD done. That's it. I'm a final year student!!! Yahoo!!! 

i love IGNOU for not making me attend classes yet still be able to study part time, and hopefully i'm gonna have some papers to show off!! Soon! 

ps: If you are also an INGOU student, 30th September is the last date for re-registration/admission for Jan 2016 session. Also no need to go all the way to 29th cross, there's another SBI on 40th cross, near the main road.

pps: mister & Mr. Big is one & the same. He got a "promotion"

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Incense smoke from the monasterys of Bylakuppe to the ruins of Somnathpura

On my off day, Bylakuppe was the choice, for I had always wish to visit the Tibetan settlement and of course the Namdoling Monastery, aka the Tibetan version of "Golden Temple" in South India. Maybe momos and thukpas also had something to do with it. As usual, nothing goes well for me at the start of my journeys... My bus ticket purchased through was a major failure. Despite the pouring rain and reaching the pick up point with minutes left to spare- the bus was cancelled. Wtf??!!? Apparently it was informed to all passengers that it was cancelled at 3pm, but having booked online at 8pm - I had no idea!! Good thing there was  immediate and no hassle refunds. There is a saying in my place, for having left home, it is inauspicious to return on the same day. Plus since I was bent on visiting Bylakuppe, I got hold of bus heading towards that way from satellite bus station, again with 10 minute to spare-. #phew
 I look like a 'bhootni' with my swollen face after the uncomfortable ride. Do not take the 10:26pm bus to Bylakuppe. It's a BAD IDEA!!
Predicted that I would reach by morning, indeed it came true. I drop off at freaking 3:30am in the morning!! Spotting a lady manning one of the numerous stall I parked myself there till 7am, passing the time cup after cup of tea and by watching "Epic", which is really a cute movie if thoroughly predictable.
Take an auto from the auto stand to Namdoling Monatesy for appx. Rs100. 
Spent some wonderful moments lost in tranquility in the corner inside the main temple in Namdoling as various monks chanted their morning prayers. It was especially amazingly beautiful at few sections of the prayer when all lamas was ringing their individual bell, and side lamas playing the large drum and the longhorn trumpet. I think my soul spiral towards the heavens for a few moments. Highly recommend to come by 7am and sit down for at least 15-20mins.
Inside the compound there are several smaller temples. I had just donated and knelt down to kowtow inside one of the smaller temple when suddenly the lamps lit up. Lol. Either it was  motion timed inside the donations box or I just got my wishes granted. :D
I really wanted to turn a few prayer wheels but did not see them. (Where is it?) likewise wanted to have some Tibetan breakfast but everything was closed. ;(( ended up having my 4th cup of tea in the morning in a café offering dosa & puri -_-'' . started walking towards the main road as i saw several interesting places enroute.  back for short duration at the Nunnery, and once more yet another round of tea and a bite of very dense,rock muffin.

Then it was off to Sera Jey Monastery on a shared auto. Paid 20rs. There was an annual exam ongoing so I could not go inside the main temple but the side hall was gorgeous. In fact I was so engrossed looking at all the mural paintings of various lama/saints/Buddha that I forgot to click some pics.

There are 4 camps in which all the people & monasteries are spread out and really I felt that Bylakuppe is best explored in one's leisure preferably on a cycle which suits the daulating landscape. Camp 1 near to Sera Jey has a mini market full of Tibetan knick knacks. Too lazy to bargain I paid 80rs to return back to the main road, even though technically it was walkable. Roughly 2kms away.
Took the first bus that came and it was heading towards Mysore. Since it was just 11am, after a brief Google decided to head out to somnathpur as well.
From Mysore bus stand, I had to hop onto a bus towards Bennur and then change to another bus passing Somnathpur.

Somnathpur is actually located in a tiny village and its saving grace is "Chennkeshava Temple". The temple or rather building is an excellent example of hosyala architecture. It's detailed to the last bit, the expressions so rapt and even the accessories are detailed..
these statues used to be housed inside the outer cloister shrines but restoration work is undergoing.
the cravings are neatly arranged into rows, each row depicting various animals, cavalry and I think scenes from the epic.

It's no Khajuraho temple but it does have some adult art, presumably of tantric practices.
It's only in recent times that India has developed a somewhat prudish  nature... Art from centuries ago attest to that, more so it's on a sanctified area. Even as everyone ignores the ballooning population of India. #doublestandards
Some things stay the same though..colorfully sari clad women & dhori  warped men admiring art..

Even the small details like toe rings of various designs, nail was not missed out
the entire temple is raised on a star shaped platform,

In contrast the interiors seem plain...except for the bursts of blooming flowers on the ceilings.. 

even found this.. not sure if it's part of the architectural structure or a simple game for bored artisans

from Somnathpur it was time to head back to Mysore for well deserved lunch!!
unfortunately this was one of the worse thali set meal I had, even after being terribly hungry. Sri Ganesh Hotel/Darshani opp the Mysore Bus Station is one to be avoided. plus at 60rs for a thali, it's a complete waste of monet, better to have food inside the bus terminal itself.

The next time you have a day free or planning for a side trip to both Bylakuppe and  Somnathpur. It's recommended.

So how much did I end up spending that day??

Bangalore to Bylakuppe           : 350
Bylakuppe to the various monasteries             :  250 (some I walked, other I just hopped on it a private & shared auto)
Bylakuppe to Mysore               : 175
Mysore to Bannur                     : 30
Bannur to Somnathpur              : 20
Somonathpur to Bannur            : 20
Bannur to Mysore                      :30
Mysore to Bangalore                 : 275 
Lunch & snacks etc                   : 200

A grand total of   Rs1,100!!! Not bad...

All the bad food, during my previous trips had be hoping for some decent meal thankfully in time for the Citibank Restaurant Week. More on my next posts in the other blog.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Cores of darshan

After completion of  Sharawan mass,  it is always recommended to dropped by and pay darshan at any Shiva Temple and thus decided I would go to Kottilingeswara temple. Not only would it be a nice day trip but also I would finally fulfill my words of visiting there.

Having requested direction from a colleague and it seemed pretty straight forward;

MG Rd à <via Bus>   KGEF

After alighting at KGEF  à <via walk> train station

Train station à (train) Coromandal train station

Cormandal train station à <via auto> Kottilingawesra Temple

On the day of the trip, after my ablutions and prayers, I took off. It was some time before a bus came, even if a number of buses ply pass KGEF, boarding the first that came (no.315) before alighting at KGEF.  Being the first time roaming these parts I had to keep asking several strangers as to the direction of the train station. The thing is, while asking for directions in India… people are entirely too fond of being friendly & helpful, so that even if  they fucking have no idea will give a vague directional wave. FUCK LAH!!! Did I mention that it was the last day of my fast & I had not a drop of water in my mouth yet?? And I was sick of roaming the roads up & down, to the amusement of footpath vendors  looking for a stupid train station under the blazing hot sun. In the end, out of sheer frustrations having walked more than a kilometer yet finding the train station not forthcoming, I ventured forth inside a police station to ask for directions. Yup. I had no FIR to lodge rather a keen desire for a proper directions towards my destination.
Lo and behold, the train station is freaking hidden behind a brand new Baiyappanhalli Metro station. 
Do not go towards the railway station exit, but rather the last staircase.
I found the railway tracks & the station but it seems my day had just started. Honestly felt like “HE” was teasing me.  For after locating the darn railway station, I could not for the life of me, find the stupid ticket counter, which btw is above the railway tracks on the side, nestled amidst a parking lot of ALL PLACES! Oh just murder me, would you dear Lord??!          

And it’s like a KIOSK!!
Why in the MIDDLE of a car park & Not inside the bloody 2 story building next to the tracks!! Wherein I dropped in by the Electrical room to…. (you guess it right) ask for directions.
Finally  purchased my ticket, and sat down to wait all flustered. For the next hour, as I had long missed the 9am train.  (side note- loving how pink my lips are after a clean diet for past 6 weeks)
Under the cool shade, I perchance observed the India cultural attitude of “do nothing and wile away the time”. Even though the next train was more than an hour away, various people was casually and contently waiting,  lost in wool gathering. A pair of girls with their parents received the blunt hand of their mother for indulging in their natural curiosity.  I am not a mother yet it sadden me to see daughters being berated and beaten for not sitting in one corner like an old hag lost in her memories. It might be prudent for the kids to not roam around in a crowded area but there we were some 10-15 odd co-travelers all patiently waiting for a train that was expected to arrive in maybe another hour or so, hence it would be expected for kids to roam around slightly.  Maybe it’s just me and my manner of thinking.

With so much time to spare, I started noticing other people. There was a couple- maybe in their thirties who were sitting opposite with some official looking envelope in her hand. My first thought was must be from a hospital 1) since they had no other carry on- hence a test report, 2) the logo looked verily similar to Apollo hospital, 3) they too were waiting for a train to away from the city at mid-afternoon, which makes the logical assumption that they live in the rural side & were returning back after a visit to the doctor. (I have been watching way too many re-runs of Sherlock, & reading the entire canon of Sir Conan Doyal) Then noticed the play in front of me; the small signs of PDA expressed by the wife rather than the husband. Sitting down, she place her hand on his lower thigh which seemed to be as if territorially claiming what was hers’. After a short span, she placed her arms around  and leaned on his shoulder. All these public display of affections, which btw in India frowned upon, yet the husband neither returned the affections nor even paid attention to his wedded wife! Instead was engrossed with his phone. It reminded me of Mister, who too is least bothered to display his affections. He is one hell of a straight laced jacket. Why is it that Indian men are so chummy with their friends that they walk hand in hand, in close bodily proximity yet with their lovers esp wife, have at least a foot of distance between them???         

Maybe it’s because I had a different upbringing, in another cultural landscape yet I find it strange. Even after 6 years in India.  As I puzzled over this chain of thought, a train slowed came to a standstill, and I headed straight to the driver’s cabinet to ask for direction or rather enquire it would take me to Coromanddal. 
Apparently it went as far as Banarpet from wherein I could either hop onto another train or bus. Oh well, it was better being on the move than stuck in one place. Thankfully the train was not over crowded and I found an empty place to next to a window. While a few eyebrows was raised seeing this "foreign" girl casually sitting on the floor, I couldn't have cared less for I had a book to keep me company. 
Along one stop, I noticed "The Golden Chariot" and fan-girled a bit. Rather than a honeymoon to Europe I would rather spend a week in uber-luxury in the Golden Chariot of "Southern Splendor" a once in a lifetime trip.

After a slow hour long ride, finally reached Banerpet and with lil' assistance  from some local boys hopped into another train, till the next stop- Coromandal and onto a auto to the Kotilingeshwara Temple only to be informed midway that gas was over. That fella had the liver to ask for half the agreed fare!!

In the end I ended up walking half a kilometer till I got a bus to my destination.
Kotilingeshwara does not have much history behind since it was established only in 1980. It's fame lies in the fact that the temple house the tallest Shivlinga in Asia at 108 feet, and had as of 2008, 8.6 millions shivlinga. It's safe to assume that Kotilingeshwara has lived up to it's name of "Koti"( 1 crore = 10 million) "Lingeshwara" (shivlinga).  

Hence visiting Kotilingeshwara would be equal to paying a crore times darshan to Mahadev. As a devotee one can also install a shivlinga.  Besides these endless rows of Shivalinga, there is inside the compound several temple where I spent several minutes in prayer.

Kotilingeshwara is also home to Nagalinga flower trees. it's considered to be very sacred for it's resembles to Naga hood covering shivalinga.

Soon it was over..and it was time to head back to Bangalore. Due to lack of train from Coromandal to Bangalore, I took a bus to Banerpet & back on train.

Finally finished reading! Keeping me company on the ride was "Making India Awesome" by Chetan Bhagat. All I can say is I really don't know! 

By chance I got to seat next to a group of very passionated singers and enjoyed a live show, even if it was in another language...

Edit: So how much did i spend??

Not much ...
bus fm MG Rd to KGEF  - 14rs
Train to Coromandal  - 20rs
Bus from somewher mid-way to Temple -5rs
Auto to Banerpet (due to laziness & no interest to wait for darn bus) - 100rs
Train from Banerpet to Baiyappanhalli (Bangalore)  - 20-30rs (dont remember)
Metro from Baiyappanhalli to Trinity station -  24 (??, not sure, forgot)

A grand total of under 200rs!!! so the next time you are broke, it's ok.... dont worry!! 500rs per person is sufficient for entire day with food & some sodas!!